Oct 2015

Discovering Design Thinking at Capital One

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Capital One Labs in Clarendon, VA

I moved to D.C. last summer and was on the job hunt, meeting with dozens of people—especially people in my MBA network.  I met with a fellow NYU Stern MBA who encouraged me to pursue Product Management at Capital One. He walked me through Capital One Digital’s innovative and open office space and gave me a thorough rundown of what to expect from the interview process.

“Make sure you understand user-centered design and Design Thinking.  They’re really into that here.”

After business school, I spent the past two years at a startup, leading marketing & product. Business school taught me about branding, marketing & leadership, but everything about Product Management—Agile and Lean methodology—I’d learned from skimming blogs and trial and error.

Capital One offices in Tyson’s Corner, VA where new bank and credit card digital products are made

I was going to have to learn fast though, because, in addition to behavioral & case interviews, Capital One Product Managers also have to rock a Design Challenge.  I can’t go into details, but I can say it was fun, challenging and collaborative.  Not what I expected from a bank!  During the interview, the Product Managers were rooting for me, but also forced me to break down assumptions and think creatively on my feet.

After several amazing conversations at the company, I was offered a Product Management role working on the U.S. Card Rewards team. It was a chance to help redefine how our customers interact with their credit card miles and cash rewards.

“Our product managers rethink our industry and inspire change,” said the HR website, and I was psyched about joining them.

Synthesizing interview verbatims as part of the Design Thinking process

It’s now my one-year anniversary with Capital One and it’s been a tremendous experience so far. I’ve been to SXSW and Adaptive Path’s UX Week, and have learned a lot more about Design Thinking through the company’s internal, week-long Design Thinking Deep Dive.  I’ve interviewed dozens of customers and “future customers” and synthesized hundreds of customer verbatims into insights and design principles.  Best of all, I’ve collaborated with smart, inquisitive people on a daily basis to develop over a hundred new product prototypes.

Up next? I’ll be working with a full-stack team of developers testing a new product concept that could touch millions of Capital One rewards customers in just a few months. And—I love my job.

Come to the Capital One booth at ROMBA on Friday, October 9 if you want to learn more about my experience or the experience of some of the other Product Managers and Analysts at Capital One.  No two stories are the same! You can also enter the Startup Pitch Competition we are hosting and apply for jobs in our Digital, Business, Brand and Operations team through the ROMBA website.

Hope to meet you there!

Javi Cobo
Product Manager, Interact
Product Owner, Team Hadoken
Rewards | US Card Digital Transformation

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